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Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish
He did it quite well and to splendid effect --
Anapestic tetrameters? Oh, what the heck!?
And why not write a novel in couplets that rhyme?
The author wa...more
Jul 20, 2013
Jul 23, 2013
Death with Interruptions
Saramago's wonderful novel takes the old motif of death taking a holiday and breathes new life into it. Stylistically challenging for the reader with...more
Oct 27, 2008
Oct 13, 2008
The Stone Raft
Saramago's works not only keep me up late into the night reading, they also wake me from sleep in those hours after midnight that belong more to death...more
Nov 06, 2008
Oct 30, 2008
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Novels with a philosophical ax to grind can be heavy going, particularly when one blade of the ax is political. Kundera, however, manages to put a kee...more
Oct 20, 2008
Oct 15, 2008
Spies of the Balkans (Night Soldiers, #11)
Furst set a very high standard for himself early in his career. He clearly owns the period from 1933-45 in Europe and is a very fine writer of histori...more
Jun 19, 2010
Jun 19, 2010
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)
Larsson found his stride with this, the last number of the Millenium Trilogy. When I reached the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down and finish...more
May 30, 2010
Jun 02, 2010
Night Train to Lisbon
The book suffers from significant problems. The English translation from the German is wooden; the book is too long; the editing is bad (e.g., a Greek...more
Nov 14, 2008
Nov 10, 2008
The Orchardist
I really wanted to like the book -- the setting was great, and the characters were interesting. The plot, however, never achieved coherence, breaking...more
Mar 17, 2013
Mar 17, 2013
The Infinities
I cannot resist reading Banville aloud. His command of prose style is without equal among contemporary writers in English. When Banville uses a comma,...more
Mar 11, 2010
Mar 12, 2010
The Bookman’s Tale
Although it's not in the same class with Possession or Shadow of the Wind (as implied by the blurbs), Charlie Lovett's homage to the rare book trade i...more
not set
Jul 13, 2013
The Children's Book
Despite Byatt's tendency to tell the reader everything she has discovered in her background research for a novel, The Children's Book is an engaging w...more
Oct 18, 2009
Oct 19, 2009
The Reader
In his thought-provoking exploration of Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung Schlink presents the reader with a number of moral conundrums as well as with compe...more
Jan 13, 2009
Jan 13, 2009
Carole Maso's novel is absolutely stunning. The language is beautiful and clearly demonstrates her mastery of the rhythms of English. An experimental...more
Sep 11, 2009
Oct 13, 2008
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
Is Jonathan Gottschall padding a portfolio for tenure? That's about the only excuse I can come up with for the waste of paper used in printing this bo...more
Aug 12, 2012
Aug 16, 2012
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)
This first novel and first in a completed series of three ("The Millennium Trilogy") by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson is a classic mystery in...more
Jul 23, 2009
Jul 22, 2009
The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World
Gilding's premise is that the current "system" (economy and culture based on continuous growth and the accumulation of "stuff") is unsustainable and m...more
Jun 28, 2011
Jun 28, 2011
The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3)
Barker's final volume of the "Great War Trilogy" does an admirable job of bringing the series to its expected but none-the-less tragic conclusion. Alt...more
Sep 04, 2010
Aug 23, 2010
The Sacred Book of the Werewolf
Viktor Pelevin has given us a delightful critique of modern Russia inside a love story, which is inside a fairy tale, which is inside a meditation on...more
Oct 06, 2008
Oct 06, 2008
The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession
A well-researched and wonderfully written book about the beginnings of modern botany, the origins of the English-style garden, the export of American...more
Jul 12, 2009
Jul 11, 2009
Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them
As I write this, I'm watching a number of bee species foraging among the flowers of my cup plants (Silphium perfoliatum) just outside my dining room w...more
Aug 06, 2014
Aug 06, 2014
The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?
An interesting hypothesis clearly explicated, a well-argued refutation of an opposing hypothesis, and a daring conclusion drawn (all of which the work...more
Jun 27, 2009
Jun 27, 2009
The Watchman's Rattle: A New Way to Understand Complexity, Collapse, and Correction
I had high hopes for Costa's book and, although those hopes were disappointed, I think the book is worth reading. She proposes that the collapses of c...more
Oct 26, 2010
Oct 26, 2010
Perhaps more daring in conception but less well realized in execution than The Reader, Schlink's Homecoming uses Homer's Odyssey (in the sense of its...more
Jan 14, 2009
Jan 14, 2009
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English
John McWhorter has done it again! For those who love language, there is no author better to educate and entertain on all matters linguistic. In the cu...more
Feb 28, 2009
Mar 01, 2009
A Time of Gifts
A young man's travel narrative comprising brilliant descriptions of routes taken, places seen, foods tasted, and people met can be broadening, evocati...more
May 09, 2014
May 09, 2014
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
About forty million passengers pass through Tokyo train stations every day. Some people travel some distance together. Some people get off at the next...more
Sep 18, 2014
Sep 19, 2014
Time Among the Dead
I received this as a Goodreads First Reads award and read it in one sitting. The writing is without merit and the content jejune. Imagine Cold Comfort...more
Apr 09, 2010
Apr 09, 2010
Land of Marvels
**spoiler alert** The work suffers from a number of the most egregious faults to which the historical novel is prone. These include, but are not limit...more
Jan 21, 2009
Jan 21, 2009
A Partisan's Daughter
Scheherazade redivivus! We exist in the minds of others and in our own minds in the tales we tell about ourselves. Our autobiographies are always (int...more
Feb 21, 2009
Nov 24, 2008
The Discovery of Heaven
What a magnificent book! Despite the hubris of Mulisch in incorporating large swatches of his autobiography into the fabric of this literary counterpa...more
Oct 24, 2008
Sep 13, 2008
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